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Apple’s iOS 14 Planting Seeds of Change for Privacy in Big Tech

December 15, 2020


As reported in Tech Crunch in June 2020, Apple’s iOS 14 will include a number of new features-including changes that emphasize the importance of user privacy and control over personal data.

Apple announced iOS 14 will feature a camera and microphone recording indicator similar to those found on Apple laptops. Users will be asked for consent to be tracked by their apps and given the option to share their approximate location with apps on their device, rather than sharing their exact coordinates.

The increased ability of users to control their data and safeguard privacy means app developers may need to adapt. Beginning December 8, 2020, all third-party developers will be required to provide details as to the types of data they collect, their privacy practices, and the practices of third-party partners whose code is integrated into their apps.

Apple is not the first big tech company to realize there may be value in privacy. The Google Play app store has allowed users to see app permissions on the store for some time.

The introduction of these features and requirements of app developers, may represent waves of change rippling through Silicon Valley. As Apple positions themselves as a privacy conscious gentle giant, the “move fast and break things” approach of other tech companies is likely a thing of the past. Reporting on companies like Clearview AI, and the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, indicates that consumers are increasingly attuned to how their personal data is being capitalized on.

A 2019 Cisco survey identified the concept of “privacy actives” – individuals who say they care about privacy, are willing to act, and have done so by switching companies or providers due to their data or data sharing policies. This group made up 32% of respondents in the survey. Apple’s updates in iOS 14 suggest they are increasingly attuned to the desires of such consumers. Given Apple’s leadership in the tech space it is likely other companies may follow suit, aiming to convey the message that they value privacy, as well as profit.

Author: Emma Baumann


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